Middle-Income Retirees Weigh In on the Affordable Care Act

Chicago, IL (November 5, 2013) – A majority of our country’s middle-income retirees feel that the best aspects of the Affordable Care Act (frequently referred to as Obamacare) is that it eliminates pre-existing condition exclusions (68%); offers a free Medicare annual wellness visits (60%); and includes initiatives to make Medicare more efficient (60%).
However, half (52%) of all retirees say one of the worst aspects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the law’s requirement that individuals own health insurance or pay a penalty, according to the latest survey by the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement®(CSR).

A nationwide sample of 800 retired Americans ages 55 and older, with an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, participated in the internet-based survey.

Retiree Confidence in their ACA Understanding

While virtually all middle-income retirees have heard of ACA, half are still not confident that they understand how ACA affects them personally. That is why even before the government shut down, the survey found that retirees were asking for less political rhetoric about ACA (88%) and more unbiased information on how the law will affect them personally (84%).

Lack of confidence in understanding ACA is even more pronounced among women retirees. Three times as many women do not feel confident in their understanding of ACA as compared to those who feel they have a good understanding of how the law will impact them (56% to 17% respectively).

Among the least understood individual provisions of ACA are two that may significantly impact retirees. One in six retirees are not familiar with the fact that ACA caps health insurance premiums for older people relative to rates for younger people (18%) or that it will close the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole (18%).

Retirees and ACA State Health Insurance Exchanges

Nearly one-fourth (23%) of middle-income retirees cite personal health or disability as a reason they retired. Therefore, many retired Americans under the age of 65 will turn to the newly formed state exchanges for health insurance coverage until they are old enough to qualify for Medicare.

One in four (27%) middle-income retirees ages 55 to 64 who do not receive any type of government insurance coverage report either having purchased their own private health insurance policy (15%) or don’t currently have health insurance (12%). In fact, a slightly greater total percentage of retirees ages 55 to 65 find themselves as potential beneficiaries of the state health insurance exchanges than the percentage of the working population.

More than four in ten (42%) middle-income retirees ages 55 to 65 indicate they either have or will investigate the cost of health insurance through an exchange.

“If you’re facing an early retirement and not yet eligible for Medicare, consider investigating coverage through the health insurance exchange in your state. You may find that one of the standardized plans fits your needs and budget,” said Chris Campbell, senior vice president of marketing and communications at Bankers Life and Casualty Company, a national life and health insurer. “Also, depending on the number of people living in your household and your household income, you may qualify for some amount of federal healthcare-related assistance.”


The research for this report was conducted in September 2013 for the Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement by the independent research firm The Blackstone Group. The full report can be viewed at CenterForASecureRetirement.com.

A nationwide sample of 800 retired Americans ages 55 and older, who have an annual household income of between $25,000 and $75,000, participated in the Internet-based survey. All survey participants had heard of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and were not enrolled in Medicaid.

The margin of error is +/3.5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

This material is intended to serve as a general resource only and is not intended to provide specific advice to regarding specific needs or requirements that may be mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

About the Center for a Secure Retirement

The Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement is the Company’s research and consumer education program. Its studies and consumer awareness campaigns provide insight and practical advice for how everyday Americans can achieve financial security during retirement. To learn more, visit CenterForASecureRetirement.com.

Established in 1879 in Chicago, Bankers Life and Casualty Company focuses on the insurance needs of the retirement market. The nationwide company, a subsidiary of CNO Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: CNO), offers a broad portfolio of health and life insurance and annuities designed especially for retirees. To learn more, visit Bankers.com.